Another school year is upon us. This series will be some things that have worked for me.

Knowing your own expectations and establishing your mindset is by far the most important first step. Here is my “How to Participate” poster, which encapsulates that first step for me. I have it blown up to poster size and put it prominently on the front wall of the classroom. I think it was good before, but this is even better. Some businesses have said they have put it in their conference rooms as a guideline.



The poster is based on Jen Schongalla’s rubric (shared at Ben Slavic’s web site), but I have tweeked it bit by bit as I have learned more about how it functions with my students. There are two changes this school year. “Professional posture” has been added to explain why students are asked to sit up and maintain eye contact. I got that from the teachers at the KIPP school in Newark , New Jersey, who are working with students from tough circumstances and teaching them to thrive. My students come from gentler lives, for the most part, but they still need to be trained why we do what we do.

Another change is on the right side. Instead of saying, “Show when you do not understand” It has been changed to, “Show when the speaker is not clear.” This puts the onus on the teacher, who is responsible for delivering compelling comprehensible input. The other way implies that it is the fault of the students. I got this from Jason Bond at NTPRS.

Feel free to copy it and see how it works for you and share your changes so we can all get better.